Between insurance, taxes, fuelling and parking charges, owning and operating a vehicle is more expensive than it’s ever been. For a lot us, especially those who live outside of urban centers, a car is more than just a ride though – its freedom and it’s a means to an end with getting to work, fetching groceries and staying in touch with our families. So this critical expense is much more than the indulgent luxury it can seem at first. But is there anything we can do to drive down the cost of car ownership? It turns out there are a few areas where you can make a healthy saving:
Go nearly-new and save big
What is the most significant drop in the value of a new car? It’s the moment you drive it off the forecourt, Owning a brand new vehicle, even if you have the financial resources, is often not a smart financial move – certainly, it’s the worst investment you’re likely to make in a while. But if you want something in perfect condition, an excellent route to go can be manufacturer approved used models. These cars are usually a maximum of two years old, and many are ex-dealership display models. This means that mileage is typically low and the car will have been kept in pristine, sales-ready condition. It also means you may get some unexpected upgrades, as dealership test models tend to come with all the available optional extra packs to upsell customers. Around plate change times, it’s worth approaching showrooms and asking about ex-demo or company fleet cars due to come back in. For a slight trade off on a 1-year-old plate, you can potentially make huge savings – with even more negotiating room, as they’re keen to get rid of old models to make room for new ones.
Get a black box fitted.
Another considerable cost can be car insurance, and that’s especially true for younger drivers. If you’re confident in your ability, you may want to consider a ‘telematics policy.’ That’s when the insurance company gets a data tracker fitted to your car, which monitors your driving to determine how safe you are on the roads. It will monitor things like the time of day or night you’re driving, the speed you use on different types of road, if you break sharply, how you accelerate, your overall mileage and if you take frequent breaks on long journeys, and calculate a policy based on your activity. Some companies even offer rewards for safe driving.
Look into car title loans.
Instead of taking the default dealership financing, look at other ways of financing your purchase. For instance, if you have access to a credit card with an extended interest-free period and a generous enough credit limit, you could part or full finance the purchase that way – as long as you’re careful to repay the balance within the introductory rate period. If that doesn’t appeal, you could look at a service like 1800 car title. This leverages the value of your vehicle as equity in loan – and the resulting funds can be used for anything, from home repairs to medical bills. All you need is a vehicle in good working condition, proof of income and a clear title – so it can be the ideal route for those looking to finance a second car.
Get the basics right.
The other significant outlay for drivers is gas. And although there’s not much you can do about rising oil prices; you can ensure that you have the basics of your driving and your car covered. Make sure you practice driving techniques that minimise fuel consumption, such as cadence braking. Advanced driving lessons teach these methods, but the overall aim is to reduce dead stops and starts by using various driving methods. Getting the basics right on your car can also help you to make savings – simple things like keeping tyres fully inflated and ensuring that oil levels are correct may only make small savings individually, but these little checks can soon add up, especially as they may help prevent more extensive problems caused by undue daily wear and tear.